Today marks Day 1 of Fedora Week of Diversity (FWD) 2024! This exciting week-long celebration is dedicated to honoring the diverse voices, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives that enrich our vibrant Fedora community. Throughout Fedora Week of Diversity 2024, the DEI Team will be showcasing the incredible stories and journeys of our members through engaging interviews and captivating social media spotlights. Join us in celebrating the unique contributions and talents that make Fedora Week of Diversity 2024 a truly special event!

Contributor Stories

Today’s Contributor Story comes from: Ankur Sinha

What’s your Fedora story? Take us back to your beginnings with Fedora!

In 2008, as an undergrad in India, I discovered Fedora through our university’s Linux users’ group (LUG). Our knowledgeable seniors, already active in many FOSS communities, mentored us as we built Linux from scratch and competed in programming challenges. They also organized numerous events around Linux and FOSS, from installation fests to coursework-related tutorials that benefited all students.

At some point, I ran into seasoned Fedora contributors like Rahul Sundaram and Kushal Das online. Rahul Sundaram did a tutorial on packaging fonts for us newbies to get us started. That was my first session, and a lot of my first packages were fonts. I’ve been a community member ever since.

Fedora’s appeal and your contribution style: Tell us both!

It was a number of things that all came together. We were computer science undergrads and we were learning how our computers worked. But, because we’d been given laptops with proprietary operating systems, we were unable to investigate/study or modify them. It was incredibly frustrating to have paid to own something but not be able to then inspect it to apply all the new knowledge we learned in class. So, Fedora’s strong stress on FOSS and openness was very attractive to me. That, coupled with the awesome community I met was enough to make me want to be involved. I was having great fun just doing lots of Fedora things. People were, and still are, incredibly helpful in the community. So, hanging out in the IRC channels and interacting with everyone there became a hobby, an extension of my social circle.

My motivations remain pretty similar even now. I believe in FOSS. In fact, now that I’m in academia and science, the importance of FOSS is even more prominent. We simply cannot have Open/Free science without FOSS. I’d like to do my bit to promote the philosophy of FOSS, in science and outside it.

Fedora day-to-day: A walk through of your Fedora involvement

I still try and split my time between technical and community contributions. Maintaining my packages, a lot of which are Neuro Fedora packages, generally takes top priority. We’ve accrued more than 300 neuroscience and general science-related packages now. (For folks interested in Neuroscience, we have open meetings every two weeks: please join in). I use Fedora for my work in the lab too, so I keep testing out lots of research tools/software to make sure they work on Fedora. I also try to help out on Ask Fedora a little every day. It’s a great way to learn about what’s going on on the Fedora usage side of things. Ask Fedora now boasts a very strong community of helpers, so I rarely encounter unanswered queries.

On the community side of things, I try and prioritize the Fedora Join SIG’s “Welcome to Fedora” pipeline (the Join SIG turns 12 years old in a few weeks). The idea is to open a ticket for newcomers on Pagure with lots of initial information on what/why/when/where/how Fedora does things, and to use that to connect newcomers with other people in the community. I think I’m still around because I have so many friends in Fedora, even if I haven’t ever met a lot of them in person. The “Welcome to Fedora” process aims to create a more people-centric onboarding experience, rather than a task-centric one. Instead of just jumping into tasks, newcomers build connections with the Fedora community, fostering a sense of belonging and long-term engagement.

I would like to be more involved in lots of other parts of Fedora that I’ve touched on over the years, like Outreach and Marketing, but there are only 24 hours in a day, and with work and life, one has to, unfortunately, pick and choose what they want to do.